'90s Toys That Make Us Miss Our Childhood
Picture this: It's 7 a.m. on Saturday. You wake up to the sound of a lawn mower and the smell of freshly cut grass, with, what's that? Eggo waffles in the toaster? You hop out of bed to go watch Cartoon Network, and then the rest of the day is yours for the making.
It's the 1990s, so iPads don't exist yet. Instead, you'll be out in the yard with your siblings or friends playing with one of these iconic '90s toys. Those were simpler days, and kids today will never know the joy of getting the exact Ty Beanie Baby they needed to complete their collection alongside their McNuggets and fries.
Original price: $18
Why Tamagotchi was awesome: Every '90s kid had a Tamagotchi, and for good reason. By today's standards, pixelated, black-and-white digital pets don't look particularly thrilling, but back in the day, these things were state-of-the-art. They were also addictive.
Keeping your Tamagotchi alive was serious business. You'd think about your Tamagotchi while you were at school, worrying if you forgot to feed it. Really prepared us for parenthood, honestly.
Original price: $5
Why Beanie Babies were awesome: We've discussed Beanie Babies plenty, but that's because the world went nuts about them for a solid decade. To adults, they were serious collector's items that might one day make them millionaires. People went to divorce court just to divide their Beanie Babies fairly.
Meanwhile, kids just loved them because there were an endless number of animals and colors to choose from. Whatever your favorite animal was, there was a Beanie Baby of it, and that was awesome.
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Original price: $10-20
Why Polly Pocket was awesome: Polly Pockets were the actual best for kids who loved playing with dolls, especially if you also loved anything miniature. Polly Pockets were nothing but tiny plastic dolls with equally tiny plastic play sets.
They fit in your pocket or purse, so you could bring an entire world to play with wherever you went. There were pool party sets, school sets, princess sets, restaurant sets, you name it. The tiny clothes and accessories made them even cooler.
Original price: $15
Why the Bop It was awesome: If you want a toy to yell instructions at you, buy a Bop It. The original Bop It toy only came with three features: Pull it, twist it, and bop it. The battery-operated game would prompt you to perform the actions in question with increasing speed, testing your coordination and reaction time.
Later versions added additional actions for more of a challenge. Whether or not the game actually improved our speed is up for debate, but it was fun regardless.
Original price: $3
Why Etch-a-Sketches were awesome: Etch-a-Sketches embody the last shred of simplistic childhood fun before technology made stuff like this seem boring. Now, kids can play high-definition games on their tablets and talk to their friends virtually 24/7. When we went to dinner with family, we just had a kids' menu, four crayons and a mini Etch-a-Sketch to play with (if we were lucky).
It wasn't boring, though, because we had imagination. Figuring out how to draw something cool with nothing but two dials to turn was an amusing challenge, even if our masterpiece would be erased in a few shakes when we were done.
Mr. Potato Head
Original price: $1
Why Mr. Potato Head was awesome: What is it about taking things apart and putting them back together that's so satisfying? We're not sure, but Mr. Potato Head capitalized on that. This plastic spud had humble beginnings. Originally, the inventor used a real potato and decorated it with fake eyes and accessories. A more sanitary, plastic version was made later on, and it became a staple in preschools and kindergarten classrooms.
We all knew which accessories were the best ones, of course. If you didn't fight over the eyes with eyelashes and the tongue accessory, you officially did not have a childhood.
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Original price: $35
Why Furbies were awesome: Furbies are awesome and terrifying at the same time. They were one of the earliest robotic toys and one of the few that incorporated fur and fun colors into the package. The all-plastic robotic dogs just didn't hit the same.
That's because Furbies were like the Beanie Babies of robotic toys. You could have one in every color, and they each were programmed with a unique personality. They were also wired to change their speech over time, speaking more English as they got "older." For a '90s toy, that was revolutionary.
Original price: $20
Why Marble Run was awesome: Marble Run was a STEM game before STEM games existed — alongside old-fashioned, grow-your-own crystal kits and rock tumblers. Marble Run let you play around with physics by taking over the entire living room with a network of colorful plastic tubes, slides, tunnels and wheels.
Making the most epic course was an ideal pastime for those days when your mom said no to a playdate.
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Original price: $4-10 per pack
Why Pokemon Cards were awesome: The Pokemon Trading Card Game came out in 1996. Pokemon was already popular on Gameboys, but the card game version brought the fun onto the playground, and the stakes were high. If you won a round, you got to keep the cards, and some of the rare ones are now worth thousands.
Back then, however, it was just about one-upping your friends and having the coolest Pokemon with the sickest powers.
Talkboy and Talkgirl
Original price: $29.99
Why Talkboy and Talkgirl were awesome: Straight out of the "Home Alone 2" movie, the Talkboy was a handheld cassette player and recorder. It had a couple of basic voice-changing features, but it was really just an ordinary tape recorder for kids.
A pink version came out targeted to girls, and it was just as popular. By today's standards, this toy is entirely useless, but back then, it was cutting-edge tech.
Original price: $3
Why Gak was awesome: Today's kids have slime, but '90s kids had Gak. It wasn't much different, except it was marketed by Nickelodeon and was superb at making fart sounds.
Mold it, stretch it, ruin the carpet with it and drive your parents insane. It was paradise. Nick also came out with textured, rubber balls that were just as squishy but much less messy.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Original price: $15
Why Hungry Hungry Hippos was awesome: Hungry Hungry Hippos was somehow addictive and annoying at the same time. It was one of the best multiplayer action games around, pitting players against each other in a race to gobble up the most plastic balls possible.
It was similar to that "Let's Go Fishin'" game, and if you loved one, you probably loved them both.
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Original price: Around $5
Why Super Soaker was awesome: If you could utterly destroy your siblings with a high-powered water toy from all the way across the yard, why wouldn't you? The Super Soaker let you dominate every pool party, putting Dollar Store squirt guns to shame.
The ads for them, however, haven't aged well.
Original price: Unknown
Why Skip It was awesome: Skip Its were tons of fun until they weren't. The challenge of breaking your own personal skipping record or challenging the neighbor kids was delightful, right up until you got tired or tripped. Then, the plastic ball would swing around and utterly obliterate your shin.
In the 1990s, kids didn't have iPads and hoverboards, though, so you'd be back playing Skip It again the next day, bruises and all.
Original price: $90
Why Game Boy was awesome: Game Boys remain the third best-selling gaming system of all time, and it all started back in the '90s. Initially, the games were pretty simplistic, but our standards weren't high.
When Game Boy Color came out, with Pokemon games to boot, we were in portable video game heaven. Game Boys didn't have the best graphics or battery life back then, but they were mind-blowing to us.